FINDING TIME TO DIE

The Chief of Police in Paris gave a deferential bow on being introduced to Buchman at a reception. 'Ah,' said Buchman, 'we are colleagues.' And out of a pocket he fished a card which stated, much to the Parisian's amusement, that Buchman was 'Hon. Sheriff of the City of Tucson, Arizona'.

During these months Buchman was increasingly confined to bed, whether in Paris, Caux, London, Milan or Rome, but his mind was constantly at work on how to meet the demands for manpower which were confronting him from every continent. His imaginative planning would have been remarkable in a much younger man. Some of the revolutionary Japanese youth, members of the Zengakuren organisation whose demonstrations in spring 1960 had prevented President Eisenhower's visit to Japan,* had subsequently been affected by Moral Re-Armament. Buchman invited them to Caux and encouraged them to write a play, The Tiger, which went through Europe and, in America, was brought to the former President's attention. Eisenhower listened to their story for an hour. 'This is the last act of the June riots', he said, 'and it has a happy ending.'

Buchman working from his bed

(* The refusal of the Seinendan to join in the riots, together with the support of Social Democrats led by Senator Kato, did much to build the nation together at this time. (cf. Entwistle, Japan's Decisive Decade, pp. 181-6.)

Leaders in Brazil, Peru, Argentina and other Latin American countries invited these Japanese to their countries and, during the last months of his life, Buchman sent them and a group from thirty other nations to South America. In Manaus, far up the Amazon River in Brazil, ninety thousand turned out one evening to see The Tiger. In Recife, at the heart of the poverty-racked North-East, Fidelistas flocked to the performances. Some changed, and were instrumental in diminishing the graft, exploitation, drunkenness and corruption in the port.

The air forces of Brazil and Peru flew the whole party into remote areas. North American Indians, headed by Chief Walking Buffalo in his ninetieth year, went to meet their South American brothers, fulfilling a promise made to Buchman a year previously in Mackinac. At the mountain fortress of Sacsahuaman, just above Cuzco, where thirty years earlier Buchman had seen the students in revolt, forty thousand Indians saw The Tiger, perching on the sides of a gigantic natural amphitheatre. The party also visited Machu Picchu, the 'lost city' of the Incas, which had been rediscovered by the father of one of them.

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Photo: Buchman working from his bed.
┬ęBuchman Archive/MRA Productions